A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, as the saying goes. Likewise, a single breakdown anywhere in your supply chain can threaten to disrupt operations, posing a serious threat to any business. What is the solution? Simply put, planning for contingencies is the greatest protection that can be put in place. A focused backup plan is a key to ensuring fluid procurement and distribution for your business, regardless of circumstances.
Evaluate Your Risks
It is crucial to assess the risks your supply chain may eventually face. Weigh the physical location(s) where goods are manufactured, and whether political, labor, or geographical factors may compromise production at any point. Global issues should also be considered, such as fuel prices and inflation rates, both of which are capable of impacting your bottom line.
Once major risks have been identified, it is important to assign specific members of your organization (as well as outside partners) duties which must be carried out in order to respond to a disruption in service. This reduces the risk of unguided, knee-jerk reactions which may turn a bad situation worse.
Consider establishing business relationships with backup suppliers and logistics partners, in the event that a primary provider is incapacitated. Likewise, transport freight using multiple corridors and methods, so a single hindrance does not create major delays. Cross train staff to improve agility and emergency response capabilities.
Partner with Experienced Carriers
Freight services with larger fleets and which have been in service for longer periods of time usually share a common trait: they have weathered storms to survive and continue growing. Working with a proven entity can be a backup plan unto itself, provided proper planning is executed with that provider.
The Final Word
A good contingency plan always involves thorough planning, realistic risk analysis, and partnerships with the right people. Be sure off-site backups of shipping and applicable trade documents are in place, and most importantly, that backup plans are regularly tested for effectiveness. An auxiliary supplier is only a suitable safeguard if that supplier is readily available in the moment of need, so take care to review and update contacts regularly to minimize risk and ensure continuity in your logistical process.
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